14 February 2007

From Agape to Eros...

...or the devolution of St. Valentine's day. According to the experts, blame Chaucer. In his Parliament of Fowls (remember how Lewis borrows that?), he writes:

For this was on St. Valentine's Day, 
When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.

And from that little line in a poem few remember came the shift from agape to eros on this day and the booming commercial success.

St. Valentine used to be remembered (before Rome axed the poor man in 1969) for this: that he was a priest who gave up his life rather than renouncing his Savior. This happened under Claudius II in 270. Thus, St. Valentine witnessed to the love that neither hatred, torture or death can destroy. "For the present sufferings are not worth being compared with the glory which shall be revealed."

Nowadays, as near as I can tell, the only folks commemorating St. Valentine (for Agape, not Eros) are the Missouri Synod Lutherans (hey, at least it is the Commemoration listed for today in the LSB calendar) and the Western Rite Orthodox - maybe also the Anglo-catholics, but I don't have the resources to check that one out.

If you want to hear more thoughts on the day, check into Issues, Etc. (www.kfuo.org) tomorrow when they post the 1/2 segment that Pr. Wilken and I did this afternoon.


Schütz said...

When do you do Sts Cyril and Methodosius (Roman Calendar for 14th Feb)?

And you might have missed a rather interesting Papal comment recently in his Lenten Message for 2007: "God’s love is also eros"!

William Weedon said...

Dear Schütz,

In the LCMS, we observe Sts. Cyril and Methodius on May 11th, the same day as the Eastern Churches.

Thanks for His Holiness' Lenten message. I will read through it. I agree with Lewis, of course, that God takes up all the loves and that in Him they become what they were meant to be. You remember the eros that you used to sing in "Soul, adorn thyself" I take it? Or do Roman Catholics also sing that? "Hasten as a bride to meet Him, eagerly and gladly greet Him, See He stands already knocking, Eagerly the door unlocking, Haste to ope' the gate before Him, saying as Thou dost adore Him: Come and leave Thy loved one never! Dwell within my heart forever!"